The Convention recognises the right to Accessibility in Article 9.
Accessibility is one of the preconditions to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in society. Obstacles to full participation are not only represented by the physical environment, transportation and ICT, but also by the inaccessibility of human support (services, facilities and adequate support) and technical aids, as well as the availability of alternative communication systems (e.g. easy-to-read language, Braille, sign language, etc.). Often, the concept of accessibility is barely extended to persons with intellectual disability.
Accessibility requirements may vary depending on external and internal factors; they may therefore support not only persons with disabilities, but also the general population at various stages of life.
As part of accessibility legislation and implementation the development of the “Design for all” or “Universal Design” concept is crucial to ensure the development of physical tools and infrastructure that is as much as possible usable by the whole population regardless of different needs.
Social and health support services can play a major role in raising awareness on accessibility issues, providing expertise and acting as innovators in assistive, information and communication technology (ICT).
In December 2015, the European Commission launched the “Proposal of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Members States as regards the accessibility requirements for products and services”.
EASPD welcomes the EC initiative and hopes the EU decision making process will lead to a solid legislative instrument that could sensibly improve the life of persons with disabilities.
The EASPD Position on European Accessibility Act is available here.